UK-Japan Neural Interfaces N+N Workshop

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Institute of Neuroscience


Neural interfaces are devices that interact directly with the nervous system, bypassing the usual sensory and motor modalities. Such devices have a number of clinical applications, in particular as neural prostheses designed to replace functions lost through neural injury or disease. One of the most successful neural prostheses is the cochlear implant, which has restored hearing in around 150,000 people worldwide and works by converting sound directly into electrical stimulation of the auditory nerve. Researchers in the UK and Japan are working on new applications for neural interfaces, for example retinal implants to treat blindness, or Brain-Machine Interfaces to allow paralysed patients to control computers or assistive devices via signals derived directly from the brain. However, considerable challenges remain, for example developing biocompatible electrodes that can safely be implanted into patients, and understanding how information is encoded by signals in the brain. We are organising a two-day workshop which will allow ten leading UK researchers and ten Japanese counterparts to present reports on their work. As well as disseminating the latest research findings, the workshop will be a forum for discussions to identify key scientific and technological requirements for developing successful neural interfaces in order to promote international collaboration. Such collaborations will help maintain the UK's place as a world-leader in neurotechnology, as well as stimulating new research leading to clinical devices that could help a considerable patient population.

Planned Impact

The workshop is primarily aimed at the academic community, in order to promote greater collaboration between the UK and Japan in the field of neural interfaces. To this end the delegation of leading Japanese scientists will tour several leading UK institutions before participating in this workshop. A programme of individual presentations, group discussion and networking opportunities has been organised to highlight key areas for collaborative research. In addition, we will invite representatives of organisations that promote and fund UK-Japanese interactions, for example, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation. The workshop will also include participants representing companies with commercial interests in neural interfaces. A webpage will be set up to provide information, and a workshop booklet with abstracts and contact information will be available to all participants. Ultimately, the new collaborations and research projects arising from such a forum could have economic benefit through new neural interfacing technologies with commericial potential, and ultimately benefit to neurological patients in terms of next-generation clinical devices for conditions such as spinal cord injury, stroke, blindness.


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Description Ultra Low Power Implantable Platform for Next Generation Neural Interfaces
Amount £257,641 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H051570/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2010 
End 09/2014
Description Chronic electrode arrays for intraspinal microstimulation 
Organisation National Institute of Neuroscience
Country Japan 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dr Jackson and Dr Seki are collaborating to develop intraspinal microstimulation for neural prosthetics applications. This partnership has involved PhD student visits and collaborative experiments. A PhD student travelled to National Institute of Neuroscience to perform experiments using resources and equipment made available to us through this collaboration. A publication describing these experiments is now in preparation.
Start Year 2011